Radionuclide SPECT/CT in oncology

Author(s): Dr Gopinanth Gnanasegaran, Dr Alexis Corrigan, Christopher Sibley-Allen, Dr Kanhaiyalal Agrawal

Hospital: Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Reference: RAD Magazine, 40, 467, 17-19

Excerpt: 

Radionuclide imaging employs radiolabelled tracers in the investigation of suspected cancer, subsequent staging, response assessment and the assessment of recurrence. Highly specific tracers, that target cellular receptors and metabolic pathways, are used in investigating patients with known or suspected cancers.

Radionuclide imaging techniques have superior sensitivity compared to anatomic techniques and provide functional/metabolic information. However historically, nuclear medicine studies have suffered from reduced specificity, which is partly related to difficulties with localisation and characterisation. The combination of single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and computed tomography (CT) into a single study, providing both functional and structural information in a single event, can assist localisation and the integration of the anatomical features can improve specificity, therefore improving diagnostic confidence. The technical advances fusing diagnostic CT with multiple detector SPECT systems have developed significantly over the last decade and the evidence for its routine use in oncology is evolving.

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